Thursday, January 21, 2016


Happy places...We all crave, and yup, we can all eat in them, at least some of them that is :). 

Cookbooks aren't just about the recipes y'a know. I'm in my happy place when I explore an author's culinary world, vision or palette. Last June, I won my first Instagram contest "woohoo!" I was giving Norene Gilletz a tour of Cheskie's bakery when I found out that I won my seat at the 2nd annual Kosher Foodies Potluck dinner, held on a Fifth Avenue rooftop and hosted by renowned kosher cookbook author, Kim Kushner. Over a dozen influential kosher food bloggers/foodies attended. We gathered over wine, laughter and yes, of course, over yummy food. You can get a glimpse of the evening in this article.

Lucky me sat right in front of Miriam Pascal, creator of food blog and daytime marketer. for a major publishing firm in NYC. It was really nice learning about the development of her upcoming baking and pastry cookbook Something Sweet, so when I finally got my hands on it this past fall, I was excited to see her vision in fruition.

The dessert photos are beautiful, recipes are geared for kosher people - keeping in mind the need for delicious parve desserts; plus the recipes can  easily be adapted into dairy. It's totally kid-proof, my kids had an easy and enjoyable time following the recipes. I learned about new ingredients on the market, like praline paste (though a bit costly) and strawberry filling (yes, I didn't know I can buy it canned). What I especially enjoyed is the chapter on bundt cakes, chocolate truffles and delicious cold drinks. What I found most practical was the comprehensive list of icings and glazes to pick and chose from. 

What impresses me the most is the fact that Miriam is in her 20s, a self-taught baker with immense talent. Like many, she juggles between her daytime job and her passion for food blogging. 

Montreal-ers are in luck! Miriam Pascal will be doing a cooking demonstration at The MTC, this Sunday, January 24 at 7:00 PM in support of countless community organizations geared to Jewish women. Click here to register.

"I started to cook and bake as an outlet, and over the last couple of years, it’s morphed into so much more than that." ~ Miriam Pascal

Below is a glimpse of some tried and true delicious recipes:

A recreation of Miriam Pascal's Something Sweet Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie. I turned it into a tart (pictured above).
My family really enjoyed these easy egg-free mini chocolate mousses from Something Sweet.
I really enjoyed  and found useful the countless trifle and mousse recipes available

Miriam Pascal, is THE expert baker on bundt cakes.
There an entire variation of bundt cake and glaze recipes to choose from. I really had fund baking this one (shown above).

Author: Miriam Pascal | Serves: 12-14 mini cups 

Chocolate Crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup oil

Strawberry Mousse
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream or nondairy whip topping
  • 1 cup strawberry pie filling, pureed
  • 8 oz. cream cheese or soy cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup sour cream or soy sour cream
  • 1 tsp, vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Vanilla Cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream or nondairy whip topping
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar


Prepare the chocolate crumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Combine all crumb ingredients in a bowl. Mix until combined and the texture of crumbs. (I found it easiest to mix this with my fingers.)
  3. Spread the crumbs in a single layer on prepared baking sheet; bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely before assembling the trifles.

Prepare the strawberry mousse

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on high speed, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form.Remove whipping cream to another bowl. There's no need to wash the bowl before continuing.
  2. Add pie filling, cream cheese, sour cream, and vanilla to mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until combined and smooth. Add powdered sugar; beat until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture until combined. Set aside.
Prepare the vanilla cream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on high speed, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until combined.

Place crumbs into a 6-ounce jar or cup, filling it about one-quarter full, Spoon or pipe strawberry mousse over crumbs, filling container a little more than three-quarters full. Pipe on vanilla cream, filling container almost to the top. Repeat with remaining jars.

Plan Ahead: These trifles freeze beautifully. Move them into the fridge for a couple of hours before serving to allow them to soften a bit.